Redo You: Cooking with Chef Marcela Valladolid

Posted on Aug 22, 2012 10:45am

Chef Marcela shares with us how to make some summery dishes with a "south of the border" flare. Think beyond rice and beans when it comes to Mexican cooking!" Get her full recipes here:

1) Corn and Zucchini Sauté
Serves 4 to 6

2 strips of bacon, chopped
1/2 cup finely minced white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
4 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat a heavy medium sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook, stirring to render the fat, until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from the pan.
2. Sauté the onion in the bacon drippings over medium-high heat until translucent, 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, corn, and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper.  Mix in the bacon and serve.

2) Steak and Wilted Spinach Salad with Serrano-Mint Dressing
Serves 4

4 (6-ounce) boneless sirloin steaks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serrano-Mint dressing (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 strips bacon, diced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
12 cups loosely packed spinach

1. Sprinkle the steaks liberally with salt and pepper.  Put them in a glass baking dish and spread all over with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Working in two batches, cook the steaks to desired doneness, about 7 minutes per side for medium.  Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut into 3/4 inch-thick slices.
3. Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet.  Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain excess fat from the pan, add the shallots, and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the spinach, and turn frequently until wilted.
4. Transfer the spinach and shallots to a platter, sprinkle with the bacon bits and top with the sliced steak.  Drizzle some of the remaining vinaigrette on top and serve immediately.

2A) Serrano-Mint Dressing
Makes about 1 cup

1-1/3 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2/3 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 to 1 serrano pepper, to taste, stemmed and seeded
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the mint, cilantro, serrano, honey, soy sauce, and vinegar in a blender and process until smooth.  With the blender running, add the olive oil and mix until emulsified, about 1 minute.

NOTE: Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapenos, ranging from hot to very hot, so adjust the amount you use to suit your taste.

3) Camarones al Mojo de Ajo (Garlicky Buttered Baja Shrimp)
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound medium-sized peeled deveined shrimp with tail on, peels reserved
1/4 cup minced onion
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Melt oil and butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to skillet and sauté until almost fully cooked, about 4 minutes. using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Add shrimp peels to same skillet and sauté until peels turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard peels. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent and garlic is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Boil one minute. Stir in lime juice and parsley and add shrimp and toss to coat with sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. 

4) Cajeta Gelatin (Panna Cotta with Fresh Raspberries)
Serves 4

For the gelatin:
Non stick cooking spray
1 envelope unflavored gelatin or 1/4 of a 1 oz. package
1/2 cup water
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 3/4 cup cajeta (goat milk spread) or caramel
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
Fresh raspberries for garnish

Sprinkle gelatin on water. Let stand about 2 minutes to soften. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir for 15 seconds, until gelatin is dissolved.

In a 2-quart sauce pan heat evaporated milk until hot, making sure not to boil. Stir in cajeta, using a whisk until smooth and evenly incorporated. Stir in gelatin mixture to cajeta mixture. Place 1/3 of a cup of gelatin mixture in a medium bowl, add soften cream cheese, and beat using a hand mixer over medium speed until smooth. Slowly pour in gelatin mixture and continue beating until it is smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain mixture into a mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup into a wine glass and continue doing so for the remainder glasses. Garnish with 3-5 fresh raspberries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

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